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How Bad Was Panda Bear’s Set at the Pitchfork Festival?

Like an indie-rock Inception, Panda Bear's upcoming Tomboy — the follow-up to his much-acclaimed 2007 solo joint Person Pitch — was supposed to be the album that redeemed 2010 and made us forget all about this dud-filled summer. But is what happened at the Pitchfork Festival over the weekend cause for worry?

The reaction on Twitter to PB's Saturday-evening performance was mixed: "Feel like #p4k should institute a Nap Time Tent where Panda Bear can play all day," said RadioFreeChicago. "Anyone know what Panda Bear is raping onstage?" wondered oneillb1. "I assume it's a small animal capable of making terrible noises."

Chicago Sun-Times critic Jim DeRogatis had this to say (via Stereogum):


Since Panda Bear has historically been Animal Collective's least yelpy member, this concerns us greatly. Tomboy's titular single, which leaked last week, was palatable enough. So how bad can the other new tracks be?

Since Panda Bear has historically been Animal Collective's least yelpy member, this concerns us greatly. Tomboy's titular single, which leaked last week, was palatable enough. So how bad can the other new tracks be?

Stereogum has a soundboard-sourced MP3 of "Alsatian Darn," which indeed confirms all reports of atonal yodeling. But there's also this camera-phone video of "Surfer’s Hymn" and "Ponytail" in which traces of decent choruses are intermittently detectable:


Were you there? Did Panda Bear's whale noises send you running to the Porta-Johns? Atonal yodeling welcome in the comments.

Panda Bear - “Alsatian Darn” (Live At Pitchfork Fest 2010) [Stereogum]
Pitchfork Day 2: Wrap-up [Jim DeRogatis/Chicago Sun-Times]

Photo: Gary Miller/WireImage